ksr_103_training_corps

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Unformatted text preview: Training Update Training Determining Obviousness Under 35 U.S.C. § Determining 103 103 After the Supreme Court Decision in After KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc., KSR 550 U.S.—, 82 USPQ2d 1385 (2007). for Training Update for: s s The KSR decision; Determining obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103; Providing a rationale to support a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103; and Considering applicant’s rebuttal evidence of nonobviousness. s s 2 Training Usage s This training and the separate examination guidelines do not constitute substantive rulemaking. Guidelines should not be cited as a basis for rejections. s 3 KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. The Supreme Court reaffirmed Graham v. John Deere Co. as the controlling case on the topic of obviousness. The Supreme Court stated that the Federal Circuit erred when it applied the well­known teaching­suggestion­ motivation (TSM) test in an overly rigid and formalistic way. s s 4 KSR International Co. v. Teleflex Inc. The TSM Test s Under the TSM test, a claimed invention is obvious when there is a teaching, suggestion, or motivation to combine prior art teachings. The teaching, suggestion, or motivation may be found in the prior art, in the nature of the problem, or in the knowledge of a person having ordinary skill in the art. According to the Supreme Court, the TSM test is one of a number of valid rationales that could be used to determine obviousness. It is not the only rationale that may be relied upon to support a conclusion of obviousness. s 5 The Basic Factual Inquiries of The Graham v. John Deere Graham Determining the scope and content of the prior art; Ascertaining the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art; Resolving the level of ordinary skill in the pertinent art. Objective evidence, sometimes referred to as “secondary considerations” when timely presented by applicants must be evaluated. 6 The Examiner as Fact Finder s Examiners act as fact finders when resolving the Graham inquiries. Examiners must articulate findings as to the scope and content of the prior art as necessary to support the obviousness rejection being made. s 7 Key Points s When making a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103, an examiner must articulate a reason or rationale to support the obviousness rejection. In formulating a rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103, the rationale should be based on the state of the art and not impermissible hindsight, e.g. applicant’s disclosure. s 8 Key Points s Examiners need to account for all claim limitations in their rejections. s s Prior art is not limited to the references being applied. s s Either indicate how each limitation is shown by the reference(s) applied, or provide an explanation. Prior art includes both the specialized understanding of one of ordinary skill in the art, and the common understanding of the layman. Examiners may rely on, for example, official notice, common sense, design choice, and ordinary ingenuity. 9 Rationales s One or more of the rationales set forth in the following slides may be relied upon to support a conclusion of obviousness. Note that the list of rationales provided herein is not intended to be an all­inclusive list. s Again, a key to supporting any rejection under 35 U.S.C. § 103 is the clear articulation of the reasons why the claimed invention would have been obvious. 10 10 Rationales Examiners must: s s Resolve the Graham inquiries. Articulate the appropriate findings as identified by the Examination Guidelines. Explain how the rationale leads to a conclusion of obviousness under § 103. s 11 11 Rationale A. Combining prior art elements Rationale according to known methods to yield predictable results. results. Examiners must articulate the following: 1) 2) a finding that the prior art included each element claimed although not necessarily in a single reference; a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art could have combined the elements as claimed by known methods and that in combination, each element merely would have performed the same function as it did separately; and a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art would have recognized that the results of the combination were predictable. 3) 12 12 Rationale A. Combining prior art elements Rationale according to known methods to yield predictable results. results. Rationale: All the claimed elements were known in the prior art and one skilled in the art could have combined the elements as claimed by known methods with no change in their respective functions, and the combination would have yielded predictable results to one of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention. 13 13 Rationale B. Simple substitution of one known, Rationale equivalent element for another to obtain predictable results results Examiners must articulate the following: 1) a finding that the prior art contained a device which differed from the claimed device by the substitution of some components with other components; a finding that the substituted components and their functions were known in the art; a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art could have substituted one known element for another and the results of the substitution would have been predictable. 2) 3) 14 14 Rationale B. Simple substitution of one known, Rationale equivalent element for another to obtain predictable results results Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because the substitution of one known element for another would have yielded predictable results to one of ordinary skill in the art at the time of the invention. 15 15 Rationale A and B Caution s Note that combining known prior art elements is not sufficient to render the claimed invention obvious if the results would not have been predictable to one of ordinary skill in the art. 16 16 Rationale C. Use of known technique to improve Rationale similar devices (methods, or products) in the same way. way. Examiners must articulate the following: 1) 2) a finding that the prior art contained a “base” device upon which the claimed invention is an improvement; a finding that the prior art contained a comparable device that was improved in the same way as the claimed invention; and a finding that one of ordinary skill could have applied the known “improvement” technique in the same way to the “base” device and the results would have been predictable. 3) 17 17 Rationale C. Use of known technique to improve Rationale similar devices (methods, or products) in the same way. way. Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because the technique for improving a particular class of devices was part of the ordinary capabilities of a person of ordinary skill in the art, in view of the teaching of the technique for improvement in other situations. 18 18 Rationale C Caution s The Supreme Court in KSR noted that if the actual application of the technique would have been beyond the skill of one of ordinary skill in the art, then the resulting invention would not have been obvious because one of ordinary skill could not have been expected to achieve it. 19 19 Rationale D. Applying a known technique to a known device Rationale (method, or product) ready for improvement to yield predictable results. predictable Examiners must articulate the following: 1) 2) a finding that the prior art contained a “base” device; a finding that the prior art contained a known technique that is applicable to the base device; and a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art would have recognized that applying the known technique would have yielded predictable results. 3) 20 20 Rationale D. Applying a known technique to a known device Rationale (method, or product) ready for improvement to yield predictable results. predictable Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because a particular known technique was recognized as part of the ordinary capabilities of one skilled in the art. 21 21 Rationale E. “Obvious to try” – choosing from a Rationale finite number of predictable solutions. finite Examiners must articulate the following: 1) a finding that there had been a recognized problem or need in the art including a design need or market pressure to solve a problem; a finding that there had been a finite number of identified predictable potential solutions; a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art could have pursued the known potential options with a reasonable expectation of success. 2) 3) 22 22 Rationale E. “Obvious to try” – choosing from a Rationale finite number of predictable solutions. finite Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because “a person of ordinary skill has good reason to pursue the known options within his or her technical grasp. If this leads to the anticipated success, it is likely the product not of innovation but of ordinary skill and common sense.” 23 23 Rationale F. Known work in one field of endeavor may prompt Rationale variations of it for use in either the same field or a different one based on design incentives or other market forces if the variations would have been predictable to one of ordinary skill in the art. have Examiners must articulate the following: 1) a finding that the scope and content of the prior art, whether in the same or different field of endeavor, included a similar or analogous device. a finding that there were design incentives or market forces which would have prompted adaptation of the known device. a finding that the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art were encompassed in known variations or in a principle known in the prior art. a finding that one of ordinary skill in the art, in view of the design incentives or market forces, could have implemented the claimed variation of the prior art, and the claimed variation would have been predictable. 2) 3) 4) 24 24 Rationale F. Known work in one field of endeavor may prompt Rationale variations of it for use in either the same field or a different one based on design incentives or other market forces if the variations would have been predictable to one of ordinary skill in the art. have Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because the design incentives or market forces provided a reason to make an adaptation, and the invention resulted from application of the prior knowledge in a predictable manner. 25 25 Rationale G. TSM Test Examiners must articulate the following: 1) a finding that there was some teaching, suggestion, or motivation, either in the references themselves or in the knowledge generally available to one of ordinary skill in the art, to modify the referenceor to combine reference teachings; a finding that there was reasonable expectation of success. 26 26 2) Rationale G. TSM Test Rationale: The claim would have been obvious because a person of ordinary skill in the art would have been motivated to combine the prior art to achieve the claimed invention and that there would have been a reasonable expectation of success. 27 27 Applicant’s Response If an applicant traverses an obviousness rejection under § 103, a reasoned statement must be included explaining why the applicant believes the Office has erred substantively as to the factual findings or the conclusion of obviousness. 37 CFR 1.111(b). 28 28 Rebuttal Evidence s Examiners should consider all rebuttal evidence that is presented by the applicant in a timely manner. Rebuttal evidence may include evidence of secondary considerations such as commercial success, long felt but unsolved needs, failure of others, and unexpected results. If the examiner nevertheless maintains the rejection after reweighing all of the evidence, he or she must clearly explain the reasons for doing so. Additional training will be provided on treating affidavits under 37 CFR 1.132. s s 29 29 Questions Questions regarding the examination guidelines for determining obviousness under 35 U.S.C. § 103 in view of KSR should be e­mailed to: 30 30 KSR Questions Thank You Thank ...
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